August 15, 2019 | Reading Time: < 1 minute

‘He’s so insecure’

You hear it all the time. “He acts that way because he’s insecure.” Take guns, for instance. He bought a gun because he feels insecure. He acted out because he feels insecure. He did terrible things to others because he feels insecure. So if he felt more secure, he wouldn’t do that? I’ve always felt…

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You hear it all the time.

“He acts that way because he’s insecure.”

Take guns, for instance.

He bought a gun because he feels insecure. He acted out because he feels insecure. He did terrible things to others because he feels insecure. So if he felt more secure, he wouldn’t do that?

I’ve always felt this has things backwards. Genuinely insecure people do not act violently. People secure in the belief that they are entitled to act violently, however—well, there’s your problem.

Arrogance explains violence or violent outbursts much better than “insecurity.” In other words, let’s be careful about what we mean when we say violent men are “insecure.” As Alessandra Tanesini put it:

It is precisely because deep down those who are arrogant know that they are not superior or uniquely authoritative that they feel the need aggressively to defend their fragile status by bullying other people. Hence, the arrogant are often engaged in elaborate rationalisations. They constantly need to feed their egos, in order to suppress the suspicion that they might not be that special after all.

—JS

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition open and available to all. Find him @johnastoehr.

1 Comment

  1. Leslie M., Eastern KS on July 30, 2021 at 7:52 am

    100%

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